Abandoning the mother ship

pumpkin, pumpkin stew

Soon to be pumpkin stew

DIL and sister wife left this morning to drive back up to SF. I still have my son until tomorrow. He flies out mid-morning to the east coast and I’m not looking forward to the thirty-five minute drive and the lunacy of the airport. At its best it’s not pleasant. Now they’re undergoing major construction delays and it’s another level of Hell.  For the moment, home is reminiscent of the old days; he’s sitting at the dining room table with a computer surrounded by piles of books, only this time he’s not writing a report or research paper, he’s grading essays.

Young Yale Professor

Photo of a Yale professor in action

I can’t believe this little sk8r boy of mine goes to work and fifteen college freshman call him Professor Angel Boy. Of course, they don’t REALLY call him Angel Boy, but I think they  should. It’s hard to wrap my brain around the concept. It’s mind boggling. Especially since he still derives the greatest pleasure by shocking me with offensive earsplitting and vulgar expulsions of intestinal gas that serves as his initial form of communication when he opens the front door (Insert loud breaking wind sounds here) “Hi, mom, I’m home!” or belching as commentary while we’re enjoying a lovely meal at the dinner table, like Thanksgiving. Apparently, my laughing is an ineffective method of dissuading that kind of behavior. Sometimes I tell him he’s disgusting but he finds that a compliment rather than a criticism. His wife thinks he’s funny too; even the captain finds him humorous, shaking his head, “That’s our boy!” almost, no, not almost–completely proud of him– so it’s hopeless. The dichotomy between his academic braininess and his juvenile antics is-uh-refreshing. It’s no wonder I treat him like he’s still in the third grade. It’s as if he never left elementary school with the stupid arm farts and the other robust sounds and smells that emanate from all of his orifices. I keep my fingers crossed that when he meets with his department heads or his publisher that he remembers all the lessons in good manners we practiced and he only acts out here as the living embodiment of the prodigal son. Like I said, fingers crossed. 

Moroccan Pumpkin Stew

Smells DELICIOUS

I’m in the kitchen baking another loaf of Whole Wheat Bread. Tonight we had Moroccan Pumpkin Stew (recipe below) with steamed brown rice and Seared Ahi ‘cos I have to make sure he gets enough protein.

It’s kind of cold, damp, and foggy; after dinner we made a fire and  played Scrabble. He won, of course–232 to 219.scrabble

An assortment of desserts; apple pie, black bean brownies, oatmeal cookiesapple pie, black bean brownies, oatmeal cookies

Beautiful flowers from my Angel Boy

Moroccan Pumpkin Stew

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 6 small potatoes, well-scrubbed but not peeled, cut in half
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1-1/2 cups canned tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons raisins

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onions, carrot, potato, and pumpkin and saute for 5-10 minutes, stirring from time to time. When vegetables have softened, add the ginger and garlic. Continue to saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the turmeric, coriander, cumin and cinnamon stick. Cook for another 5-8 minutes, then add the canned tomato and 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, then add the raisins. Allow to cook for 18-25 minutes until all vegetables are soft – but don’t overcook. Serve over or with brown rice.

The Real Meaning of Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

From one of the funniest blogs out there,  My Life as Lucille, the absolute best quote about Thanksgiving from my secret crush, Jon Stewart.

Thanksgiving Quote
I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.~Jon Stewart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winner, winner, winner! Liebster Award

One of my new besties, a very lovely lady who writes Tonettejoycefoodfriendsfamily, nominated me for the prestigious Liebster Award. This is a wonderful and unexpected honor, albeit a teensy bit sad, because it’s meant to draw attention to deserving blogs (the happy part) who have less than 200 readers (the sad face part). However, I will carry on with a smile as the glass half full kinda gal I am, and proceed with the rules.

Rules
I need to nominate 11 other under-appreciated blogs with less than 200 followers. Hey guys, I appreciate you! Please visit them and give them some love because they are very interesting to read and are authored by brilliant and creative writers. Some have a bit more than 200 but I really enjoy them so much I wanted to help others make the discovery, and I think I actually have chosen 12, but whatever, I never like to follow rules.  And since most of the time I believe the world revolves around me (well, it does around MY house!) and it’s all about me, I can mess with the rules just a bit. Next comes 11 juicy tidbits about myself, then answer 11 questions sent to me, and create 11 questions for my chosen group.

Eleven random facts about ME you really want to know!

1. My grandfather was a rabbi

2. I was in the movie “Stuntman”

3. I fell down a manhole when I was three-years-0ld

4. I once interviewed Bob Hope

5. I know someone who knows someone who went to the Skyfall premiere

6. I love animals more than 90% of all the humans on Earth

7. I’m from the midwest

8. I could probably have a big win on Jeopardy-my head is full of useless information

9. I’ve taught school

10. My husband says I use a shovel like a man (he meant it as a compliment; I was not amused)

11. I haven’t eaten meat since I was 16-years-old

I nominate:

The Fur Files 

Snipewife 

Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches 

Michelle at Play

Life on Wry

Red Dirt Kelly

Jewels for All

Better Half Weddings

Seashells by Millhill

Misifusa’s Blog

Midlife Crisis Crossover

Elyses’s Life as I Know It

These are the questions that I had to answer:

Where is the farthest you have even been from where you were born? Not sure which is further from Detroit; Germany or Greece, but I’ve been to both

Do you live now where your family lived? My mom and dad and I moved from the mid west to San Diego, and my brother lives in on the west coast but not nearby; don’t keep in touch very much with the rest of the family

Do you like to live in the city or the country? I like where I live now, near the beach with a bit of hills, and the city about 30 minutes away. I want a little bit of everything!

Do you prefer to visit the city or the country? Definitely the country– to go hiking, camping, skiing. The city is only good for shopping

In what ways do you consider yourself the most creative?(Name as many ways as you’d like.)

I think I’m a pretty creative gluer of seashells and I try to put words together like I arrange my shells and rocks and beach glass

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years? I would like to build my copy editing/proofing business and maybe have the two books I’m currently working on done and published as well as the reality show I want to pitch to ANYONE and you’ll be seeing me on all the talk shows looking very fashionista

What would you like to try that you have not done before? Ski without being petrified of going too fast and falling.

Is there any place in particular that you have never seen that you would like to visit? France

What would you change about the world if you had one quick wish? No animal or child abuse

Rank these(1,2,3,4):books, music, sports, movies You did it for me, I would keep them arranged exactly the same!

What are your 3 favorite holidays? (Whatever you celebrate) My son’s birthday, Christmas, Hannukah, wedding anniversary (I chose 4)

Here are my questions for you: 

1. How old were you when you first learned to read?

2. Name two of your favorite books.

3. What’s your favorite holiday dessert?

4. What is a Merchant Marine?

5. Who is your role model?

6. Who is your favorite movie star?

7. Do you make new year’s resolutions?

8. What’s cluttering up your life?

9. Do you drive a car or a truck?

10. Do you know how to change the battery in a smoke alarm?

11. What is your best home remedy for a sore throat?

Black Bean Brownies and Lentil Cookies

These recipes were requested by TheFurFiles. I hope you and your family enjoy them as much as mine does! I’m taking a break from baking until Thanksgiving when my son, DIL, and sister wife are in town.

News Flash…I’m losing my best buddy. The captain’s leaving tomorrow for about 7 weeks. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the way it is. One day he’s here, and one day he’s not. Right now I’m in shock. We knew it would happen eventually–the call would come–but neither of us was expecting it so soon. He hasn’t even been home a full month. Oh well, I’m a glass half full kind of gal so I won’t be too upset. It’s watching him pack that’s making me sad right now!

Black Bean Brownies

  • 1 can or 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, or olive oil (I always use a bit less)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar ( I’ve tried brown sugar and I’ve tried agave, not sure what’s better, kind of a personal taste thing)
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan. In a blender, puree the beans with the oil. Add the eggs, cocoa, sugar, coffee, and vanilla. Melt half the chocolate chips and add to the blender. Blend on medium-high until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the blender and pulse until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining chocolate. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until the surface looks somewhat matte around the edges and still a bit shiny in the middle, about 20 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting and removing from the pan. My family thinks they taste better the longer you let them sit, so the beany texture dissipates.

Lentil Cookies (Alton Brown‘s version)

  • 9 1/2 ounces whole-wheat pastry flour, approximately 2 cups*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 8 ounces sugar, approximately 1 cup (1/2 white, 1/2 brown)
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature, approximately 1/2 cup***Sometimes I use half oil, half butter, or all oil. Depends on my mood and my pantry.
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups lentil puree, recipe follows
  • 3 1/2 ounces rolled oats, approximately 1 cup
  • 4 ounces dried fruit, approximately 1 cup
  • 2 1/4 ounces unsweetened dried shredded coconut, approximately 1 cup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice. In the bowl of a stand-mixer with a whisk attachment, cream together the sugar and butter on medium speed. Add the egg and mix until just incorporated. Add the vanilla and lentil puree and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and blend on low speed until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the oats, dried fruit and coconut. Form the dough into balls about 2 teaspoons in size and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving about 1-inch of room in between. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes.

Lentil Puree:

  • 4 ounces lentils, approximately 2/3 cup, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 cups water

In a small pot over medium heat, combine the lentils and the water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Remove from the heat and puree. If using immediately, let cool. The puree may be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Yield: 1 1/2 cups lentil puree.

Wholesome whole wheat bread

I baked a loaf of whole wheat bread to go along with the Veggie Lentil Soup. This is a  consistently good recipe.  I’ve had a lot of success with it. Sometimes I don’t have nonfat dried milk and it comes out great anyway. I’ve tried it with honey, agave, maple syrup, and brown sugar.  Still good. They’re right about adding orange juice; it really does soften the whole wheat-y flavor. My son loves raisin bread so I’ll add a cup or so when he’s around and he can eat a whole loaf right in front of my eyes. “Course he’s over six feet tall with a freaky uber-metabolism; he’s the only one I know around here that can do that.  Plus with the whole portion control thing, no one else is allowed to have unlimited amounts of anything.

Just out of the oven I spread about a half teaspoon of butter on top to get a shiny crust.

King Arthur was founded in 1790 and is located in Vermont.

Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread

  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup
  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
  • 1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dried milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • *Use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.

tips from our bakers

  • Why the range of water in the dough? A lot depends on the weather, the season, and how you measure flour. You’ll need the lesser amount of water in the summer; or when it’s humid/stormy; if you measure flour by weight; or if you sprinkle your flour into the measuring cup, then level it off. You’ll need the greater amount of water in winter; when it’s dry out, and the humidity is low; or if you measure flour by dipping your cup into the canister, then leveling it off.
  • The liquid sweetener you choose makes a difference. Molasses produces the darkest loaf, one with old-fashioned flavor. Honey yields a lighter, milder loaf. Maple syrup makes a less-sweet loaf — unless you use real maple syrup, in which case it’ll be similar to a loaf made with honey, albeit with a faint hint of maple.
  • If you’re someone who tends to taste whole wheat as somewhat bitter, try substituting 1/4 cup of orange juice for 1/4 cup of the water in this recipe. A bit of orange juice tones down whole wheat’s somewhat tannic taste.

1) In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for “dough” or “manual.”) Note: This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.

2) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

3) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or till the center has crowned about 1″ above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

4) Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The finished loaf will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.

5) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. If desired, rub the crust with a stick of butter; this will yield a soft, flavorful crust. Cool completely before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

Yield: 1 loaf.

UK SPK™

Since my son met and married a girl from London, his language has become peppered with UK SPK™, which I define as words and phrases he’s appropriated from his wife, her family, and friends. Because I like to be as trendy and hip as he is, if only to annoy him, I have incorporated quite a few into my daily life.

The first day he said jumper instead of sweater, I had to remind him that he holds an American passport and he was born and raised on the beach in SoCal.  And the day he told me he’d ring me on his mobile I was gobsmacked (amazed). My DIL says things all the time that I need her to translate for me. When we go shopping, she’ll look at an outfit or whatever, and say it’s naff which means tacky and def something I shouldn’t be caught dead in. Mutton dressed like lamb is a veiled way to communicate to me that the hoochie momma spandex-covered-in-rhinestones dress I picked out for myself is too young looking for my advanced years. I always say totes adorbs because Stacy from What Not To Wear says it, but it was born in the UK.  Of course, that’s totally adorable, right? Everyone knows they say boot and mean trunk, and flatmate is roommate, but did you know that knackered means tired? Pissed isn’t angry, it’s drinking too much alcohol, and to whinge is to whine. The one that really confused me for the longest time was biscuit, which to me is flour and shortening, baked in the oven and slathered in butter, but to Brits it’s a cookie, of all things! Oh, and DIL says, “I reckon” a lot, which I thought was funny ‘cos it’s kind of a Southern thang, but apparently it’s a well-used phrase they’ve appropriated from us and are now giving back!

The day my child picks up a British accent, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. Prob wave an American flag back and forth in front of him until he once again sounds like the California boy he is!

Here’s a few more I hear on a regular basis:

bin=trash can

ginger= red hair

gobsmacked= amazed, gob is mouth

sorted=figured out

splash out=spend a lot

suss it out= figure it out

I know there are many more -isms, but I’m saving some for Part 2 one day. Unless everyone stops speaking to me.